If you are facing criminal charges in Illinois, a lot of your current anxiety is probably coming from the fact that you're not sure what's going to happen next. You don't want to go to jail or receive a sentencing that will affect you for the rest of your life, but at the same time, you have no idea how the criminal charge process works and how to prepare for what lies ahead.
Every criminal defense case is different, so the exact process for your situation may vary, but the basic criminal charge process for a misdemeanor in Illinois is as follows:
- Arrest. You can be arrested if a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that you committed an offense. Your information will be taken, including fingerprints, age, gender, and race. After the arrest has occurred, three different things can happen: You may be released without criminal charges; you may be released with a request to the state's attorney to review the case to file charges; or you will be formally charged.
- Charges Filed. After the police conduct an investigation, they may decide to file charges against you.
- Bond Hearing. Bond is also known as bail. This is money given as a deposit to the court clerk to secure your release. This gets you out of jail for the time being, but not forever: you are just being released until your court date.
- Arraignment. Before your trial begins, you will be arraigned in criminal court. The court will read the formal charges brought against you. This is also when you will enter your plea of guilty or not guilty.
- Trial. If you plead not guilty, the trial is where your defense attorney will go to work to establish reasonable doubt. It is the prosecution's job to try and prove that you are guilty, but if there is absolutely any type of reasonable doubt that you may not have committed the crime, or your rights were violated in some way, you must be found not guilty.
- Sentencing. If you are found guilty, a sentencing hearing will be held to determine a punishment. This could be anything from probation, court supervision, jail, or prison. You may also be ordered to pay certain fines or court fees.
The good news is that when you let Polinske & Associates defend you in court, you have access to Mr. Polinske, one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the Edwardsville area. In addition to representing you, he is also available to describe the criminal charge process in detail so that you always know what is going on.
If you or a loved one were recently arrested and need legal help, call Polinske & Associates today by calling toll-free at (877) 632-3089. Additionally, if you know someone going through something like this right now, please feel free to share this article with him!